‘If We’re Being Honest’: Novo Amor’s Most Magical Song to Me

In summer 2018, ‘Birthplace’ was his first song that I heard and I was like, “Damn, I love this voice.” After that, I loved ‘Terraform’, his other single which lyrics I still don’t understand until now, and the series of loving all his works started then. Around a week ago, on September 3rd, Ali Lacey, better known as ‘Novo Amor’, released his new single, ‘If We’re Being Honest’ that turned out being my magical song.

I used to keep Novo Amor’s songs as my own secret playlist, like ‘this music is mine’. You’ll be too lucky to find my Spotify account and see how many playlists I put his songs into. To be honest, whether you’re too close to me or too strange to me, I’m not gonna share Novo Amor to you. Also, I’d never think to try to figure out the musician’s personal life though, because I didn’t wanna be so subjective since his music has been great already. But this suddenly changed when Novo Amor released his new single, ‘If We’re Being Honest’, the magical song that leads me to write this story.

I still can’t get over it so you might find some excessive fangirling responds I write here. It all started in one morning that I thought will be as boring as the past weeks, where I get my mood so fucked up, but apparently this song changed my entire boring day (even weeks!) into something lighter. I felt like this song helped me carry up half of the weigh I’ve been lifting.

September 3rd: Release Day of “If We’re Being Honest” by Novo Amor

“Newest hit from Novo Amor is now on J**x. Listen to If We’re Being Honest right now!” said this one music app I rarely use, who keeps asking me to use it again, but then I only responded with saying “What…the…heck…”. Days before, I thought Novo Amor released a new song called ‘Shape and Patterns’, but that was just a short video about his new upcoming collaborative album, “Cannot Be, Whatsoever”.

Not letting myself forget this update, I googled this new song, and I found “Novo Amor – If We’re Being Honest (Lyrics)” by this channel “Penguin Music” was uploaded 3 hours ago in YouTube. I was like “Yum, here we go!” then I clicked play. Turns out, the music video is premiered in the next 9 hours. I clicked “Remind me” and yet I didn’t have the heart to close the YouTube tab. I told myself that this is going to be my reward after I do my work today, so let me do my best. (But I keep coming back to the YouTube tab to see the remaining time, LoL!)

Unlike his previously released songs (Halloween, Decimal, and Opaline), this is the kind of song I’m going to love and put it in my playlists, most likely would be in my “On Repeat” playlist. Yes, I’m madly in love this song! This is the kind of song that gets me, just like “From Gold” and “Carry You”. I deeply in love with the drums part so much, it flies me, you know. You’ll only get this when you hear them.

After a dozen of replays while I’m working, I decided I wanted to share this magical experience I’m having as an impromptu review. Let’s start with an opening, I thought. Then I asked myself, “What was his name again?”
Oh okay,” after I googled.
Damn, he had an interview with CreativeDisc, how come I’d never figure this out?!” I mumbled, but then I read the transcript to get some more insights.

Cut to the chase, it was 15 minutes before 10 pm, I sent a reassuring chat whether everyone’s having their day made after listening to this song, just like the one I had. Right after I sent my chat, the person we’ve been waiting for has come, as seen in the image below.

novo amor if we're being honest chat box 1

Not so long after, I asked a question about him coming back to Jakarta and play a show. Guess what? He replied!

I squealed in happiness of getting my first response from him (the feeling stays until now because I find myself smiling at 3:45 am while I’m writing this blog). After replaying the music video and showing it to my Mom, I finished, then submitted the article. It came up the next day and you can read it in Bahasa Indonesia here:

‘If We’re Being Honest’; Surprise Novo Amor untuk Album Barunya, “Cannot Be, Whatsoever”

September 4th: The Offer

I thought it’ll be just that, I submitted the article, the article is posted, I promoted the article, done. But apparently, after I shared my article in Twitter, Ali himself gave it a like and it’s messing with my serotonin in a good way. Yep, that made my day again because at the end, the article reached the website’s most popular posts!

novo amor if we're being honest popular posts

I was still thinking it’s all enough. I got 2 of my tweets liked by Ali in Twitter, the article’s exposure is getting better, while I keep streaming ‘If We’re Being Honest’ over and over again. Until this one midday where CreativeDisc asked me about interviewing Ali, it goes like,

“Tristin, if you get a chance to interview Novo (Ali), do you want to? Can we do it by Zoom? Haha”

Then I almost got choked and having this butterflies in my stomach while reading this deadly damage in a form of words. I didn’t reply it immediately and waited like 2 minutes while digesting this information. I said I’d never do any interviews with any musician using English language yet, AND BY ANY OTHER CHANCES WHY HIM. I believe I’ll got my star-struck syndrome relapsed. But blah blah blah and eventually I said “So as not to regret it in the future, I’ll agree to it first”.

The request to interview Ali was sent to Novo Amor’s management and all I did was preparing my mentality, wondering what should I ask, and knowing that I need to do a lot of research since I’d never read anything about him online and ONLY listened to his songs in the past two years. The news has arrived, we’ll do the interview on Monday at 7 p.m. WIB. Damn, THIS Monday? And I only got two fcking days to prepare? But challenge accepted.

September 5th to 6th: Preparation

Obviously, I did as much research as I could to figure out who is he and how’s he like. Armed with my moderate skill at interviewing, I made a list of 10s questions and did some rehearsals. By ‘rehearsals’ I mean I literally recorded myself in a Zoom meeting and watch the preview. Man, I couldn’t even imagine myself talking to the guy who sang all the songs I’ve been singing in the bathroom, in my bedroom, in the office, even on the ride when I’m alone.

I didn’t even think about reaching him out like how I reached Greyson Chance out because I thought that he only wants us to listen to his music and interpret it on our own. And through his interviews I researched, it was right. He likes his songs meaning remain mysterious so we can understand them ourselves. For me, I only need to feel it to understand the song in a way I can’t even explain it to myself. I could cry, smile, being like a person who’s in love with her life, and that could come only from the same song.

September 7th: The D-Day

I spent my morning just like usual, working. But I feel something’s off, like something’s holding me and it ruined my mood (again). I’m feeling nervous, but the playlist I used to listened to is the reason why I feel this. I tried so hard not to care about this feeling, but my body can’t lie.

It was 2 p.m. when I told my Mom, “OMG, Mom, it’s less than 6 hours left from the interview,” and she was like, “Ugh, you’re overreacting.” You know how Asian moms would act. Less than two hours later, I got this butterfly in my stomach turned into some kind of monsters, I felt my stomach churned, followed by my heart beating fast, excessively sweating, and shortness of breath. After, like, four times going back and forth to the restroom to had some poopoo, I thought I wanted to take a sick leave, but cancelled it bcs the office hours is nearly over.

I calmed myself down after reading an article about how to stop panic and anxiety attack then took a deep breath and knowing that I shouldn’t let my heart beats fast or I’ll instantly “wake up” the monsters again. Remembering this, although it’s almost 5 in the morning when I write this, I can’t help myself not to giggle because how weird my body was. My Mom and Dad seemed worry about me but I told them it’s okay, Dad offered me a herbal drink and I drank it to suggest my brain to feel better.

It’s finally 7 p.m., I already took a bath and changed to my black pyjama T-shirt. I’ve prepared my working room, did some makeup so I wouldn’t look too pale, and set a camera to record how did the interview look like from behind my back. It was kinda cute, though, getting this much effort just to do a 30-minute video call with the guy I barely know whose songs I love so much.

Ali is apparently a nice guy, though, he entered the zoom meeting room on time and was really chill and friendly throughout the interview. You can see this interview I attach below, but what you might not know is that I still got around more 10 minutes to talk to him but I was too nervous when he asked me to ask him my personal questions. I only asked him my two other spare questions while actually there’s this one fun question I should’ve ask, but I didn’t.

“Hmm, mayybee that’s all, I guess,” I said very doubtedly, then my senior interviewer jumped in and joined the conversation to say thanks and said that I was fangirling over him these past days, which frankly right. The more you get to know your favorite musician, the deeper you love them because you both have the same taste in music, am I right? He said “That’s cute,” right before I cut and said panicly that I thanked him for what he did and told him to never stop making music.

September 8th: Songs Recommendation

As you can see in the interview, I said I’m going to look for the songs Ali into. Yeah, that wasn’t just a chit-chat question. I listened to the songs, and for all the pressure I had while listening to Bloom by Great Grandpa for the first time, I cried. And the other one is Labrador by Hailaker, a band Ed Tullett made with Jemima Coulter, Ali was kinda involved in the process of making their album and he said he liked Labrador.

September 9th: Playlist

The next day, I tweeted to Ali that I listened to the songs above and I asked for more songs recommendation since I love the first two he told me. Since I kept Novo Amor as a music I ‘own’, it’s been years since the last time I trade playlists and it’s even longer since I listened to a playlist that ‘clicked’ with me. I actually don’t really believe that people can share the same taste in music, until this one.

Ali replied my tweet with an entire playlist he made in his another Spotify account. Among those musician I know, I found a song that has been my favorite since the end of 2018, Smoke Signals by Phoebe Bridgers, whose album (Stranger in the Alps) is in my most played album in 2019!

Songs by songs are being played and I was like, “Oh. My. Goodness. I’d never feel so ‘clicked’ with a playlist recommended by other human being!” And I was literally squealing and crying tears of happiness. To Ali, if you ever read this, I think it’ll be great if we can spend some more time talking, please don’t get tired of my questions, and THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ALWAYS MAKING MY DAY!!!

Days after the interview: The ‘Research’ Wouldn’t Stop

After talking to him on the interview, knowing him a little bit through our conversations (that I listened again to write the summary article), and his interactions in his media socials, IDK why I get the impression that he’s actually funny and really enjoyable to talk with, but some of his followers think he’s a rigid person, it’s weird but cute.

Anyway, another “‘research’ that would’t stop” happened while I was doing research for this article. So apparently, in an interview, Ali stated that ‘Stranger in the Alps’ by Phoebe Bridgers is the last great record he recently heard in around July 2018, which I figured out around five months after that.

The other one I found is apparently, Novo Amor’s ‘Welcome to the Jungle’ is a rearranged version of Guns n’ Roses’s ‘Welcome to the Jungle’, which also embarrassed me because I’d never realise that until I read the lyrics. This song was once used for an AXE/Lynx Black ads. HAHA, now you know how lack the information I knew about Novo Amor’s discography.

From now on, I think I’ll try to stay connected to the information Ali shared to his fans, because apparently that’s an important thing for me to know the musician whose songs I love so much. Thanks to Novo Amor’s ‘If We’re Being Honest’, I actually couldn’t feel more thankful for this fun experience I was having. If you still have some time, please take a look at the summary article I wrote by clicking this image below:

novo amor if we're being honest

Well, as you can see, I wrote this 2K words article to share my story about that four magical days I’ve had with Novo Amor after If We’re Being Honest. Now I felt like I was just coming out through this article, because I used to keep Novo Amor as my own secret playlist until ‘If We’re Being Honest’. Since you guys know the story already, the situation is now changed. But, as long as this way of exposing my playlist could help me support him, I’m gonna do it. So, click here to pre-order ‘Cannot Be, Whatsoever’.

It’s been 7 a.m already. Good morning and I need to sleep, I think this’ll end here for a while. Bye!

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